Likely you have heard of Mexico's seaside hotspot, Puerto Vallarta, but the destination's northern neighbor deserves its fair share of attention, as well. Here's why:
1. Location, location location
Riviera Nayarit is smack dab between the Western Sierra Madre Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. It has 200 miles of beaches, mangrove forests and fishing villages, so whether or clients are interested in hiking, surfing for culture seeking there is an area of interest. It's prime real estate also affords it an average of 80 degrees year round.
Already home to a slew of high-end hotels (think Four Seasons and St. Regis), Riviera Nayarit is picking up interest among other mass market brands such as Iberostar, which debuted its first Mexican Pacific Coast hotel in December. The hotel has 452 rooms, most with ocean views, including 120 Oceanfront Junior Suites, 18 adult-only Spa Rooms, two Presidential Suites and four handicap accessible rooms. For leisure and relaxation time, among other services, there is the SPA Sensations and a Championship 18-hole golf course. The property is Wi-Fi-accessible throughout. There is a variety of dining options, including an international buffet, as well as four themed restaurants: Gourmet, Japanese, Steak House and Mexican. There is also an exclusive SeaSoul bar with ocean views, as well as seven other bars placed throughout the resort. Geared towards both couples and families, the hotel has a Splash Park aqua park and a separate kids' pool, as well as a Miniclub for children aged four to 12 and a Teenclub for teenagers 13 to 17.
3. For the Outdoorsy Type
From whale watching and snorkeling to diving, surfing and kayaking, Riviera Nayarit is an adventure-seeker's paradise. Other outdoor activities include windsurfing, fishing, mangrove boat rides and more. Be sure to head to the seaside surfer's town of Sayulita, where you can surf the swells and kick back with cervezas on the beach.
4. Disconnect to Reconnect
The bohemian beach town of Sayulita in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico, has attracted avid yogis to the region in order to disconnect to reconnect. At Haramara Retreat, a 16-acre oasis with 16 private palapa cabanas, guests can participate in morning or afternoon practice from two 360-degree-view yoga pavilions. Yoga, both private and group classes, are offered and upon check-in guests may choose to meet their instructor to determine level of expertise and customize the practice to meet guest needs. The Trailwind Jungle Lodge sits on the the coastline just north of San Pancho. Here the bungalows, palapas and casitas sit on five acres of jungle and beach. Mar de Jade is located in Chacala, a fishing village 90 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta. The main house of Mar de Jade sits on the Chacala beach. There are 17 Garden Suites and 11 Guest Rooms in addition to yoga and meditation studios, dining rooms, bar, guest lounge and reception. Guests can participate in yoga, meditation or the temezcal ceremony or any of the scheduled on-property retreats. Finally, travelers looking to be closer to the beach should look into Paraiso Yoga located in Sayulita and a two-block walk to the beach. The property has three bungalows. Gatherings can be held in the shared open-air kitchen or outdoor hangout space.
5. Catch of the Day
Proximity to the ocean leads to some of the freshest seafood in Mexico. From all-inclusive restaurants to seaside cafes, Riviera Nayarit is catching and grilling local Mexican delicacies.
6. Real Mexico
Still relatively untouched by international tourism, Riviera Nayarit provides a glimpse into traditional Mexico. Four local tribes produce their own arts and crafts. Plus, the nearby archaeological site of Alta Vista allows visitors to take a step back into history.
7. Night Owls Will Flock
Being in such close proximity to Puerto Vallarta allows travelers to Riviera Nayarit to experience a pulsing nightlife. Puerto Vallarta's streets are electric with bars, discos, live music and live shows. Plus, Puerto Vallarta is one of the most LGBT-friendly destinations in Mexico.